The Knitting Way – Chapters 4/5

The Knitting Way

The Knitting Way

My journey through The Knitting Way continues. Chapter 4 was such a long chapter that I thought that would be the discussion of this post. Somehow I got momentum going and whizzed through Chapter 5 as well.

The Knitting Way - Chapter 4

The Knitting Way – Chapter 4

 

So Chapter 4 – Once Upon A Time – The Stories of our Projects. This chapter talks about the history of knitting and those who were the historical authorities, discusses Elizabeth Zimmermann’s role in knitting evolution, and personal knitting histories of the authors. I felt very connected to this chapter as it is a world I know and love. The discussion (over 2 pages) on my long-time buddy Kristin Nicholas was delightful. If you don’t know her work, google Kristin. She has written a number of well-thought of books. I might review her latest – Crafting a Colorful Home once I finish this book.

This chapter also features well-known and unknown knitters and their stories from Mary Thomas to Mr. Rogers who wore cardigans knit by his mother. I’m being brief here, but it’s really an in-depth and well-written section.

Chapter 5 - The Bearable Lightness of Knitting

Chapter 5 – The Bearable Lightness of Knitting

The basic premise of this chapter is how not to be a perfectionist knitter and enjoy the process. There is some good advice for what you can do with a disappointing project. Also, knitting with yarns that are not really yarn – ribbon, fabric and even spaghetti!

The Knitting Way - Quad Socks

The Knitting Way – Quad Socks

In Chapter 5, Janice makes easy socks in a light worsted (DK weight) yarn. The idea is that if you have 4 socks you can mix and match and don’t have to worry about losing one or having it wear out. If you have 4 colors of yarn to make the socks, you can mix and match to use up all 4 balls, but ultimately when you finish, they will all be color connected. This is a project I’d like to try.

 

For next week, Chapter 6 is about making time for knitting. This is a pretty long chapter, but I’d like to make it through two chapters once again.

http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-Way-Guide-Spiritual-Self-Discovery-ebook/dp/B00CBY4OMS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423156322&sr=1-1&keywords=the+knitting+way

Aran Knitting – Take 2!

StEdna_man

OK – I really have been reading the background on Aran Knitting. It’s really hard to put it into words, but here’s what I’ve learned about the history of Aran Knitting.

Aran sweaters were not seen until the last 40’s and 50’s. Many of the myths for this knitting style were generated by Heinz Edgar Kiewe (1906-1986). Kiewe organized production of Aran sweaters based on a photo that was published in a book by Mary Thomas (no relation to me). Many of the sweaters were knit in the Western Isles of Scotland as there were not enough knitters in Ireland. So much for the Irish knit theory!

Alice Starmore believes that before her book called The Celtic Collection (1992), “celtic” cabling had not been seen in knitting.

Another myth debunked – Aran Sweaters are not traditional Fisherman’s garments. See my photo of the guys in the last blog post.

Here are a few books who offered history of Aran. These books were almost the only available books in the 80’s and 90’s when I was an editor. We thought of them as historical Bibles:

Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys & Arans – Gladys Thompson (1955).
Important in development of Aran Knitting. By the way, Aran was not mentioned in the title until 1971 when published by US publisher.

The Complete Book of Traditional Aran Knitting – Shelagh Hollingworth (1982)

Traditional Knitting – Michael Pearson (1984)
Michael (who I met years ago) cast doubt on Kiewe’s theories.

A History of Handknitting – Richard Rutt (1987)
The English Mr. Rutt was also known as the knitting Bishop.
His theory is that the origins of Aran Knitting may have come from the US.

Irish Knitting – Rohanna Darlington (1991)
Rohanna also talks about the US Boston connection by an immigrant woman.

Basically what I could learn is that the fisherman gansey may have been the origin of what we know as the Irish knitting tradition.

In the next chapter, Alice travels to Dublin to the National Museum of Ireland and talks about 3 garments (photographed in the book) and gives her conclusions. That to come!

In the meantime, I’ve been swatting. Gauges for the Na Craga (woman) Washable_Ewe

and St Edna (man) sweaters.
StEdna_swatch

 

A lot of knitting and ambitious projects!